The Senegalese international Sadio Mané who won the Champions League, finished top scorer in the Premier League and reached the final of the African Cup of Nations this year, came in 4th position in the final classification of the Golden Ball behind Messi, Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo. *
A place that leaves a bitter taste for its supporters. For many African sports analysts, in terms of his individual performances, club and selection Sadio Mané deserves a place on the podium.
On Twitter, several Internet users have also expressed their disappointment at not seeing Sadio Mané appear on the podium. This is the case, for example, of Ivorian football legend Didier Drogba himself who came in 4th position in 2017 for the Golden Ball which tweeted I quote “seeing you on the podium would have seemed so logical to me, but force is to realize that as long as we do not show solidarity between African, never again will we have players Golden Ball as was our older brother George Weah. Courage to you and continue to make us dream, one day you will be crowned. « End quote.
A message that points to the fact that out of several journalists from 44 African countries only those from 12 nations voted for Sadio Mané. A situation deplored by many lovers of African football.
In early November, former Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o lamented that African footballers are « not always appreciated at fair value ».
But the question is whether this ranking makes the Liverpool striker who remains optimistic for the future, the favorite for the title of best African player of the year. For the CAF Awards 2019, ten men remain in the race for the statuette of the African player of the year, among which stand out two favorites, the Senegalese Sadio Mané (Liverpool), winner of the Champions League and CAN 2019 finalist, and Algerian Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City), champion of England and Africa.
Unlike men, where a squad of Liverpool champions, European champions, could claim this year to compete with the six-time Golden Ball Lionel Messi, the female reward left little room for suspense.
The 34-year-old was the star of the FIFA Women’s World Cup this year, scoring six goals as the United States defended their title successfully.
Rapinoe’s goals earned her the Golden Boot for top scorer and the Golden Ball for top player.
Last September, Rapinoe had already won the title of Best FIFA Player and it was inevitable that she would win what is only the second edition of the Women’s Golden Ball, won by the Norwegian Ada Hegerberg in 2018.
Megan Rapinoe was elected by a panel of voters that brought together 48 journalists, one per country where women’s football is played in competition.